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Critically Evaluating Popular Ways Of Explaining And Predicting Human Behavior

Human behavior is the different types of behaviors exhibited by human beings, and is evaluated relative to social norms, or the influence of social pressure that is perceived by the individual to perform or not perform a certain behavior. It is also evaluated using perceived behavioral control or the individual’s belief concerning how easy or difficult performing the behavior would be. Human behavior is regulated by various means of social control and is influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, persuasion, coercion, hypnosis and even genetics.

The behavior of people is studied by the academic disciplines of psychology, sociology, economics, and anthropology. There are many popular ways of explaining and predicting human behavior which include psychological and pseudo psychological methods. Both scientific psychology and pseudo psychology provide explanations of human behavior. Psychology is a science and not a pseudoscience. This is because psychology is the scientific study of human behavior.

It is a vast field unified by the quest to understand behavior through the scientific method. Pseudo psychology appears scientific but it is not for example the belief that a person can use their mind to see the future or read other people’s thoughts. One such way which is debated on whether it is scientific or not is graphology. This is the study and analysis of handwriting especially in relation to human psychology. It is not pseudo psychology. A person’s personality can be easily predicted by their handwriting.

The scientific explanation for it is as follows; the muscular movements involved in writing are controlled by the central nervous system. The form of the resultant writing movement is modified further by the flexibly assembled coordinative structures in the body parts used in writing; that is the hand, arm, and shoulder, which follow the principles of dynamical systems. One reason to use graphology is that there are thousands of positive testimonials, even though most empirical studies fail to show its validity.

Conditions within the central nervous system affect written movements which reflect both transitory and long term changes in the central nervous system such as or alcohol usage. The psychological state exhibited by emotions, one’s mental state, and biomechanical factors such as muscle stiffness and elasticity are reflected in a person’s handwriting. The central nervous system organizes movements produced through biomechanical and dynamical constraints.

These affect one’s handwriting and thus predict and explain one’s behavior. With these in mind, graphologists are able to evaluate the pattern, form, movement, rhythm, quality, and consistency of the graphic stroke in terms of psychological interpretations. Empirical findings have shown that such interpretations vary according to the graphological theory applied by the analyst. Graphology can not be ruled out as a pseudo psychology but as a legitimate way to assess personality as it has a scientific explanation.

In conclusion, we acknowledge that the study of human behavior is a very complex topic, because discussing it or even attempting an explanation of how and why we function the way we do is hardly conclusive. As there are many popular believes of why human beings behave the way they do, it is fundamental to critically look at these ways, accept only the scientifically proven methods and argue against pseudo-scientific methods such as the ability of a person‘s astrological sign to predict a person’s personality and their future.This critical analysis helps in providing a way to evaluate the validity of different explanations of human behavior.

REFERENCES

Wellman, H. M. , Cross, D. , & Watson, J. , “Meta-analysis of theory-of-mind development: the truth about false belief,” Child Development, 72 (2001): pp. 655-684. Jones and Nisbett, 1972; and Malle, B. F. , How the Mind Explains Behavior: Folk Explanations, Meaning and Social Interaction (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004). Hutto, D. D.

, “The limits of spectatorial folk psychology,” Mind and Language, 19 (2004): pp. 548-573; see also Gallagher, S. , “Understanding interpersonal problems in autism: Interaction theory as an alternative to theory of mind,” Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, 11(2004): pp. 199-217. Driver, Russel H. ; M. Ronald Buckley and Dwight D. Frink (April 1996). “Should We Write Off Graphology? “. International Journal of Selection and Assessment 4 (2): 78–86. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.

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